It is normal to feel anxious from time to time. When we are facing an interview, or the possibility of redundancy,
or awaiting the results of an important medical test, we can feel worried about what might happen and perhaps tense and
anxious about how we will be affected.
In most cases, the tension will go away once the stressful situation is over. However, some people experience such
strong feelings of anxiety that they are unable to cope with their day-to-day life. Often the cause is a clear problem but
sometimes for no clear reason, it is possible to become deeply troubled.
We can feel highly anxious and it can last for days or weeks or even longer. Anxiety affects us all but becomes a problem
when we can't relax at times when we should be able to; when it appears for no clear reason; when we can't switch off the worry
no matter how hard we try; or if our lives start to centre round anxiety
(for example when we avoid going places or doing things due to fear of what might happen).
Men and women of all ages and from all backgrounds are affected by anxiety and there are several different aspects to it. Some people have anxious thoughts that cause them to have worries and fears, where they go over things again and again in their mind in a way that does not actually help resolve it. This can then begin to link in with panicky thoughts and fears that something catastrophic and deeply threatening is happening right now such as a faint or collapse, a stroke or a heart attack.
Feelings and emotions can become altered with anxiety too, ranging from milder feelings of emotional tension through to worry and anxiety, to very high states of panic that occur during panic attacks.
Physical symptoms can include milder levels of tension like muscle tension, tiredness, pain, a slight jittery feeling, disrupted sleep patterns, and hot and/or cold sweats. If the symptoms of anxiety increase and move towards panic, a full fight or flight adrenaline response can occur.
Each person will experience anxiety in his or her own particular way, but there are a number of symptoms people often describe:
Anxiety can make it hard for us to cope with day-to-day demands. We may become isolated from other people, we may feel very frightened at what is happening to us, yet don't know how to change. It can be very draining to be so tense and fraught all the time.
There are steps you can take yourself to reduce your anxiety and you may have to work hard at these day after day. It may be that whatever action you take will make you more anxious to begin with. This should decrease with time, but in the early stages you may find yourself needing to use support from other people to help you keep up your own efforts.
What helps may be different for each of us, but other people have said they found these things useful:
It may be that what you can do on your own is not enough. Although it can be hard to be open about your fears and anxieties and take up help from people you don't yet know or trust, it can also be an enormous relief to stop putting on a brave face and to find that you can get help.
There are various sources of support available:
Personal and Organisational Growth and Development: in the HOME, in BUSINESS, in the COMMUNITY.